Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

Unlike Riding a Bike

Recently, I bought new mountain bike, after not owning a bike for years.  When the bike arrived, I unpacked it, put it together, bolted on the wheels and handlebars, hopped on and just rode off.  People often say you never forget how to ride a bike to mean that, once learned, certain skills never go away.  Sadly, that same phrase does not apply to many aspects of managing associations.  While a manager’s skills endure and improve, the facts and issues for each project, and even within the same project, can differ significantly.  It’s a bit like the difference between knowing how to ride a bike in general and knowing how to operate a specialized piece of equipment like a track bike or downhill mountain bike, yet that analogy even falls a bit short.

Associations are defined by their own unique characteristics.  The differences in an association’s unique governing documents are as important as the generalities that makes so many association seem similar.  Payment due dates, meeting notices, quorums, fiscal years, audit requirements, collection policies, voting consent percentages, board composition (# of directors), board term lengths, director qualifications, insurance requirements, and many other important guidelines may and often do change from association to association.  Even managers who have been with the same property for years should always review the governing documents for any unique requirements to ensure proper governance.

The skill of managing an association, like the skill of riding a bike, never goes away, but peak performance requires more than general knowledge.  It requires constant attention to details and nuances that make every association unique.

If you ever need assistance interpreting what is required by a governing document provision, the team at Barker Martin would be happy to help.

Unlike Riding a Bike

Recently, I bought new mountain bike, after not owning a bike for years. When the bike arrived, I unpacked it, put it together, bolted on the wheels and handlebars, hopped on and just rode off. People often say you never forget how to ride a bike to mean that, once learned, certain skills never go away. Sadly, that same phrase does not apply to many aspects of managing associations. While a manager's skills endure and improve, the facts and issues for each project, and even within the same project, can differ significantly. It's a bit like the difference between knowing how to ride a bike in general and knowing how to operate a specialized piece of equipment like a track bike or downhill mountain bike, yet that analogy even falls a bit short. read more

Association Committees

Committees can be a productive tool for condominium and homeowners associations. Committees, such as budget committees or architectural control committees, can promote increased participation by owners, benefit from unique owner expertise, and help reduce the workload imposed on volunteer board members. However, to properly benefit from the use of committees, it is essential that they are created and operated properly. read more

Is a Loan Right for Your Community?

At a time when many condominiums are old enough to require major repairs or renovations, community associations can be overwhelmed by the cost. The word is definitely out that a community association loan may be a viable option for many communities. In contrast to a lump sum special assessment, the ability to pay a loan back over a period of years has the potential to lessen the financial impact on owners. Of course, there are costs associated with any loan, including origination fees, interest, attorney's fees, etc., but these tend to be relatively small in relation to the loan size, and often are only charged if the loan closes and can be paid with loan proceeds. read more

Oregon Trailblazing

A large part of my practice is assisting associations and property owners with first party insurance claims. For those I haven't had a chance to work with, a first party insurance claim is a claim against an association or owner's own property insurance policy. These claims often involve significant property damage to properties that are past the statute of limitations to pursue the developer or contractors that built or converted the project. Washington has been ahead of the curve with respect to recovery on first party claims. Oregon, for reasons too lengthy to discuss here, has generally been unfavorable to first party claimants. read more

Guiding Principles for Enforcement Hearings

Since our enforcement hearing presentation at WSCAI's Made for Managers Day a couple of weeks ago, we have been getting a lot of feedback on the variety of procedures employed for community association enforcement hearings, generally with the question "is it okay to do it this way?" First, a big thanks to all of you who attended our presentation (and MFMD 2017 in general)! Second, the primary takeaway from our presentation and, for those of you who did not attend, for enforcement hearings in general is twofold: 1) Follow your governing documents; and 2) be reasonable. read more

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